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09 November, 2010

Mercury Glass Dilemma...Make, Antique or Buy It?

IMG_4163 Have you noticed? Mercury glass is going to be big during the holidays this year! I know that some of you already have lovely collections and are saying…Great! But those of us who do not are faced with a dilemma!


IMG_4112 Sooo…get comfortable and let’s get serious here. You know I’m a retired teacher and I feel teacher mode switching on. First…come sit at the table and have some homemade bread with me. Butter and jam? How about a cup of coffee or some tea?  All comfy? OK...let’s talk!


pageFirst, I should say that what is sold today is actually faux mercury glass. The real deal actually had a silvered coating between two walls of blown glass. Over time, the coating would begin to wear off, thus the antiqued look. (For an interesting article on its history from Martha Stewart, click here.) Modern manufacturers have achieved that look by various methods. Usually, a gold or gray cast is added in spots to help the illusion. Here’s my problem…it’s expensive to build a collection from scratch! Sooo…


pageI first decided to make my own. I used two different methods…from Martha Stewart Living and Room Recipes… and, although the photos on their sites looked good, my versions were generally…well…less than fabulous! Fortunately, I used cheap glassware I found at Goodwill for my experiments!


IMG_4113 This is the Room Recipes version in daylight…minus the candle…with some faux mercury glass behind it. What do you think? OK…not great…so off to solution number two!


IMG_4073 I decided to try to find some at Goodwill…and I must say that I was a lucky duck!  I was able to find nine pieces over two days and spent a total of about $13…not bad! But there was another problem…this is the shiny stuff that was popular a couple of years ago! What to do?


IMG_4033 I got out a sea sponge and some craft paint in soft black and created my own oxidized antique-y looking spots!  I wet the sponge with water first and pressed it inside a folded paper towel to remove the moisture, then lightly touched it to the paint. I then tapped the sponge on a paper towel to remove the excess paint before I started. Then I added the spots in a random pattern on the candlestick.


IMG_4072 And…taa daa! The best thing is that you can wipe it off and start over if you don’t like the result. I actually blotted the whole thing lightly with a wet paper towel when I was finished to keep it from looking smeared. I think this is a pretty good imitation of the real thing.


IMG_4085 And here it is in a little vignette, along with the last of my ginger lilies. I brought them in before our first freeze and the whole house smells wonderful! Sooo…what do you think? The difference is subtle, but I like it. There’s still another problem, though. I am really limited as to shapes! These all look so squatty! So here’s solution number three


page …buy some! lol I would love to add some of these to my collection…especially the taller ones! So I did a price comparison to see if I could afford several of them. Note that the sizes are not identical, but it gave me an idea of a comparable cost.
Pier 1 - 12 1/2 inch candlestick…$28
Ballard Designs - 16 inch candlestick…$35
Pottery Barn - 14 1/2 inch candlestick…$39
Hmmm…I’d like to have four, so I would be looking at around at least $120! Yikes!


IMG_4161 Then I found these! The one on the right is from Target and is 11 1/2 inches tall. It only costs $12.99! It will have a nice presence on the mantel. The one in the center is from Michaels and, at 14 inches tall, only costs $9.99! And…with a 50% off coupon, that’s only about $5.00! Woo hoo! It has a barley twist glass stem and a beautiful mercury glass globe with the antiqued detailing that I love! The one on the left is also from Michaels and was also $12.99…but that makes it about $6.50 with a 50% off coupon! I think it’s my favorite! So for about $25, I have three very different candlesticks!


IMG_4163 Then I will mix them in with my antiqued Goodwill candlesticks to complete the look. You’ll be seeing more of these later! Whew! I’m glad that’s decided! I’ve been mulling that one over for several weeks! lol Now…tell me what you think and how you have taken care of that expensive mercury glass collecting addiction!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my project!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Before and After Party on Wednesdays
Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Artie at Color Outside the Lines for Vignette Fridays
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Linda at A la Carte for Junkin' Finds on Fridays
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
See you next time! A la prochaine!

81 comments:

  1. I'm not too much up on things and didn't know mercury glass is "hot" this season. But, I'm excited, because I have a couple of pieces, from years back. You have found some wonderful treasures. Can't wait to see what you do with them at Christmas.

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  2. I LOVE mercury glass! I can't believe what you found at Michaels and Target. I've been looking at some and they are really pricey. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled. I really like the way you antiqued your Goodwill finds. This is going to make a beautiful grouping. Hugs, Kat

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  3. Debbie, you are so funny. I think the ones you sponged look great. You always find good deals so I am not surprised. Thanks for joining my party!

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  4. Debbie, you grouping looks nice. I don't have but one small piece of mercury glass. I've looked at it but never invested in pieces. You'll probably have me taking a second look when it see it now. LOL
    ~ Sarah

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  5. I love it Debbie and thanks so much for the mercury glass popularity info. Had no idea:-).

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  6. I have several pieces of the faux mercury glass that I've been collecting for several years. Most are from HomeGoods and specialty shops. I would love to have some of the real antique pieces, but it's reall pricey.

    Your grouping looks lovely.

    hugs
    Sissie

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  7. I like the sponge painted one. When I was at Kohl's today trying to spend my $10.00 coupon I ran across some mercury glass candle holders. They were on sale for $9 and $12. I think I like your Michael's ones better though.

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  8. Great post!! I'm just trying to not succumb to the mercury glass passion. I like all of your tips, however. We'll see how I do the closer we get to Christmas!! Sally

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  9. I don't have any yet. But it isn't for lack of wanting them. It's the expense you mention. I love what you came up with! I can't believe you found that many in so many days. Or that you found those nice ones at Michaels and Target. I have to go look!
    Brenda

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  10. You did a fabulous job experimenting with the mercury glass finishes. I think they all turned out great and what bargains you found at Goodwill!!

    So it appears the best deals would be at Michael's and then Pier 1! I'll keep my eyes open. Thanks Debbie! :-)

    XO,
    Jane

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  11. You do such a good job of finding things at bargain prices and tweaking them to be up-to-the-minute-gorgeous. I always want to run over to GW after reading you, but I think you need special eyes to find your treasures. I just see junk!

    Can tarnished silver fit in with mercury glass? That's what I have.

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  12. They all look great, and I know you'll have a lot of fun with them over the holidays-enjoy:@)

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  13. You did a great job! I love the way they came out - look like the real thing for sure!

    Jeanine

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  14. Lucky duck, indeed! You must have some of the best thrifting karma I have ever seen :)) I tried to make some mercury-glass looking bottles too, and mine looked the same as yours. But thanks for the shopping tip - I'll be heading to Michael's with my 50% off coupon tomorrow!
    Cheers, Andrea

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  15. Great! What a result for you Debbie :o)
    I'd be at Goodwill, and shopping around! Love how you aged the second option.

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  16. Oh thanks for the lesson! I have been wanting mercury glass for a while now and I just may have to give this a shot! Yours look great!
    Lacy

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  17. Good work, Debbie! Love what you did with these and the ones you found, too. I think that's a neat look, and a FABULOUS price. Good going!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  18. Smart lady and a thrifty one tooo!!
    I only have a couple of pieces, but I do think it is beautiful! I can't wait to see all the beautiful vignettes, that you will be sharing.
    Sandy

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  19. I like the way you shop girlfriend!!!! I like your too!

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  20. Thank you!! You did all the hard work for all of us.
    Thanks...they look really nice!!!
    Suzann

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  21. Debbie I have a 50% off coupon for Michael's and was wondering what I could get. Guess what...I love that big candlestick you found there. Hmmmm...now If I can find some GW one's also it will be vignette in the making. Your's look wonderful! Great job!

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  22. I love candles...what great ideas you've given us! And every candle looks beautiful! You really do your research...and pass the great info to us! Thanks! ♥

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  23. Enjoyed your post, I came over from Kim's Before and After. I also took a look at your Burlap Wreath post, I plan on going bast to that one and checking out the other two links. Thanks.

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  24. You found NINE pieces over 3 days at GW?? That's insane! You are a lucky duck. Good for you. I've been pricing these myself these days, at all of the places you mentioned and they are way too expensive. Thanks for the scoop on Michaels!
    xoxo,
    Kim

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  25. Debbie, I'm all about mixing! Don't you think when things are mixed there is a terrific synergy?
    What a great post. I have a couple of lovely pieces of mercury glass and I love them grouped together.
    Yvonne

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  26. Great project, Debbie. You have more patience... and talent than I do. I'd just have gone right out and shopped at my usual places. Yours turned out fab! Love the look and thanks for letting us know about the great shopping places for starting our own mercury glass collection.

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  27. You did a fantastic job in putting everything together and GREAT shopping!!
    When I had my gift shop I always carried the REAL mercury glass but it just didn't sell - guess I was about three years ahead of time!!
    Love what you have put together and will look gorgeous at Christmas!

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  28. I think you and I have very similar tastes and that's a good thing! I just posted my Mercury Glass and what I did was I had a couple older candle sticks and because I wanted more I shopped and shopped and really got some good deals on pretty ones, like you I purchased at Target, and HomeGoods and Marshalls and Ross too. As well as thrift stores. I stopped myself as I tend to go way overboard and feel I now have enough. Big hugs, tami

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  29. I say all three!! I LOVE mercury glass....alot!!! I found the same ones at Target and also found some at Pier One for $10! I love yours and your collection is so pretty!! I would love to get my hands on the real deal someday!!!

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  30. Your mercury glass grouping looks great, Debbie. Looks like Michaels and Target have the best price, huh! Thanks for the info....Christine

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  31. Hi Debbie, I don't think my comment posted. Anyway, Love, love, love the mercury glass collection. Also, I'm gonna copy what you did to the shiney ones...a great improvement! Linda

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  32. Love your triple solution to the problem! The sponge painted ones are really good! Nice mixed in with the Michaels and Target purchases!

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  33. Hi Debbie, I also tried making my own mercury glass following Martha Stewarts directions. Mine was a total flop! I like the ones you antiqued and the new pieces you purchased. I was lucky enough to win a set of three candlesticks in a blog giveaway and I love them.
    Hugs, Sherry

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  34. Where there's a will theres a way! You could have spent a fortune but instead you used your own ingenuity and thought outside the box. It all came together so beautifully.

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  35. I think you did a great job on the one you sponged. And with all your bargains, they will all look great together in a "clustre"!
    Thanks for the tips!

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  36. You are just brilliant Debbie!
    I would have never have thought of that!
    Now you have a lovely collection for just a little moola!
    Have a great week,
    Cindy

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  37. I have never owned murcury glass. I think perhaps because I thought it too modern for my "leftovers" home. Very chic and beautiful!
    :) You have some lovely pieces there..

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  38. You did fabulous! Great finds, they look beautiful!

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  39. I am a mercury glass addict. Although they are not the real deal, I have found some for fabulous prices at TJ MAXX and Ikea. There is nothing better than clustering it as you have done....

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  40. Hi Debbie,
    Love how your faux mercury glass candle hodlders turned out...What a great idea and simple solution...They were certainly a great find. Have a wonderful day.

    Hugs and Kisses,
    ♥Ana

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  41. Great post, Debbie! You did very, very well with your shopping, and the ones you faux-painted look wonderful! You're assembled (and created) a truly impressive collection! Thank you for sharing these great tips and techniques.
    -bill

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  42. Great job Debbie, I really love the ones from PB with the edging or whatever around the tops and bottoms. Maybe next year they will be in the PB clearance and I can get one.

    Janet

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  43. A+ deb....your grouping looks amazing!

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  44. I just have a couple of the squatty ones that I found at GW and they are shiney. I need to add some paint to them. So maybe I will have to look at Michaels and Target. Yours are all so pretty and I love the vignette with your pretty silver tray. Gorgeous. Thanks for linking to TTT. Hugs, Marty

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  45. Love your site! Its always fun when I get the email to come visit! I wait until it is quiet, and I can read through the blog. Especially when I can peek at your cute little staff! Mine loves to climb onto the laptop as I am reading... They are the best.
    :) Cindee

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  46. Debbie,

    You amaze me with your wonderful finds at Goodwill! What a great post to help us find affordable ways to decorate:). I always love visiting your blog!

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  47. Really great post. I am wanting three of these so you did the work for me. Love how you fauxed them. They look great!
    Sherry

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  48. A great lesson on patience!! Your make over is pretty convincing. I do like it much better than the two other techiques. A great collection already.

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  49. Great ideas! Beautiful display and photographs. I'll have to hit Target & Goodwill soon.

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  50. You have a beautiful collection of mercury glass. Many years ago I purchased about 12 mercury glass vases at an auction. At that time mercury glass had not come into it's vogue. I only paid about 2 to 3 dollars a piece. I sold them all on ebay and made a very good profit. Now I wish I had kept them. Some were shaped like the candleholders today and I could have had quite a collection. You never know what is going to be the thing until it is too late. Thanks for sharing your beauties. ~~Sherry~~

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  51. Thanks for explaining what mercury glass is. I've seen a lot of bloggers talking about how much they love it, but they don't tell what the heck that stuff is. I've wondered but figured since everyone seemed to know, I'd look stupid to ask.

    Glad you cleared that up. All your candlesticks are very pretty and I bet you'll find a use for them even after Christmas!

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  52. Thanks for the lesson teach! You did a great job creating faux mercury glass. Your vignette looks great. I have a few pieces of mercury glass I inherited but they will not be making an appearance this year for Christmas. They are in the back of my storage unit and I have no desire to try to find them!

    ~ Tracy

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  53. I just love this post!! After reading this the other day, I was searching through the thrift store for some glass pieces to transform thinking about your post & thank you for the tutorial- I can't wait to try it!! Your pieces came out just beautiful Thank you so much for sharing at my party this weekend! :)

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  54. Love it!! Glad I found you today over at Artie's blog party. Shared link to your post on my FB wall today.

    Your Newest Follower - Lynda

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  55. Just stopping by from Junkin Party!! Love what you did and found for MUCH cheaper! The mercury glass is really pretty. Unless I find some cheap, too, there won't be much in my Christmas!!

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  56. I have a few pieces and they just didn't look right. I think it's because I don't have a lot of pieces grouped like you have here. These look really nice. You were very lucky to find so many of them. Just goes to show everyone that you never know what you will find at GW! You have to go often to get the deals. Thanks for sharing this informative How To post!~Ames

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  57. Oh, my!!! I need the recipe of that cake, pound cake or bread you have on the 2nd picture! I'm craving it! :-)

    Also, I want to thank you sooo much for you super sweet comment on my blog. It's so wonderful to have you there!

    Now, about making it or buying it.. oh I wish I was "handy" as you are... in my case I would buy it, or maybe.... hummm... I would give a shot.. right? Maybe I could learn, or at least have some fun with it. ;-)

    I'm felling inspired... :-)

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  58. That first photo takes my breath away.

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  59. Your candlesticks are beautiful!!

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  60. Hadn't heard this and didn't know you could make them-thanks for sharing!

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  61. Hi Debbie!! Oh, you're good! I didn't know you could make your own faux mercury glass! Love it. Those candlesticks are lovely.
    Thanks for popping in to see my kitty in laws! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  62. Just joined you from the junkin finds friday party. Wow! Your homemade mercury glass candlesticks looks just as great as your purchased ones. What a fantastic job and way to save!

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  63. What a fun tutorial! Your faux mercury glass looks great! And the ones you bought are wonderful!

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  64. Debbie, I do need to come to your part of the country, I have never seen mercury glass at any of the many thrift stores I haunt...your vignette is very striking, love the reflection in the silver tray. Next week I will check out Michael's and Hobby Lobby to see what they are offering. Have a great weekend!

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  65. Thanks so much for the little "lesson". Maybe I actually can pull this off!

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  66. I had not one drop of desire for mercury glass candlesticks....UNTIL I saw this lovely post. Now, I am just about to die for some!!! :))

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  67. you are so talented Debbie...

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  68. J'aime beaucoup ce style!ce que tu as fait est très réussi,félicitations!

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  69. Wow, you did great. Love those that you found at Michael's. I'll be looking for some there, too.
    CAS

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  70. I tried (and failed) to make my own mercury glass. Glad to hear I am not alone with this challenge! I love mercury glass and saw the same ones at Target. I may need to go there soon!

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  71. I LOVE Mercury Glass. I just whipped up a tutorial you should check out my post: http://takethesidestreet.blogspot.com/2010/11/faux-mercury-glass-tutorial.html

    I love the Target ones though, I'm going to have to get some of those since my tutorial only works if you can spray from the inside of the glass, and you can't really do that with the candlesticks. Hope you check my post out, you should try it -- it looks pretty darn close to the real thing.

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  72. Debbie, you are so creative! I would not have even been able to think of how to go about creating a mercury glass look. I think yours turned out great. You also found some great deals on some. I have picked up a few over the past year that were great deals too, but they are all shorter than yours. I'm going to try to get to Michael's with my coupon and hope they still have some of those. Thanks for linking to Favorite Things Sat. laurie

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  73. I've been following mercury glass too and so far have not found pieces I could afford -I will have to look at Michaels- thanks! Jennifer

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  74. I love mercury glass and the ones you did are gorgeous - well done!!!

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  75. If you had not told me I would never have known you didn't buy these from a high end store! They truly look wonderful!!! I was planning on checking at TJ Maxx and seeing what they had in mercury glass, but I think now, I will just make my own!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Lou Cinda :)

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  76. Debbie,
    Thabks so much for sharing these at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAYS...I would have never thought about making my own...what an awesome idea!!!!

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  77. Wow, those look great! Thanks so much for sharing. Now, I'm off to paint some candlesticks ;-D.

    Brittany
    http://www.prettyhandygirl.com

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  78. Wow! Love mercury glass and I thought you did a great job. Love how it all looks grouped together.

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  79. Debbie this was wonderful! Great prices and very creative! I do not have a collection! Wish! lol Love the homemade bread! Come link to Tea Time Tuesday sometimes! Love the mercury glass! You did great!

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  80. Ever since I first read this, I have thought about it! Yesterday I ran across -- well, OK, I was looking -- for some glass to try this on at HL. Found two 16" chunky ones in bottle glass for 8.50 each. It is going to be my project this afternoon! Will let you know how it turns out!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie